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Ordens dess Rosen-Creutzes Beneben der Confession, &c.;* and here for the first time we have an account of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, or indeed any mention of them. According to Andreä's tale, a certain Christian Rosenkreuz, though of good birth, found himself compelled from poverty to enter the cloister at a very early period of life. He was only sixteen years old when one of the monks proposed going on a pilgrimage to the holy grave, and Christian as an especial favour was permitted to accompany him. At Cyprus the brother is taken ill, and dies, but, nothing daunted by this accident, Christian resolves not to abandon his first design, and goes on to Damascus, with the intention of proceeding to Jerusalem. Here, while he is delayed by fatigue, he chances to hear talk of the wonders performed by the Damascene sages, and, his curiosity being excited, he puts himself under their direction. After the lapse of three years spent in acquiring their most hidden mysteries, he sets sail from the Arabian gulf for Egypt, where he studies the nature of plants and animals, and then having traversed the Mediterranean he arrives at Fez in Africa as he had been advised by his Arabian masters. At this place it was the custom of the Arab and African sages to meet once a year for the purpose of mutually communicating the results of their experience and enquiries; and here he passes two years in study, after which he travels into Spain, but not finding a favourable reception determines to give his own country the benefit of his researches. But even in Germany, swarming as it was with mystics of all kinds, his proposed reformation in morals and
* I have not seen the first of these editions, but it seems to want the Confessio, while it has the Reformation, which is not in the second. This Reformation, according to Murr, is nothing more than a literal translation of lxxvij. Ragguaglio di Parnasso di TRAJANO BOCCA
science meets with so little public sympathy that he determines to establish a society of his own, and with this view selects three of his most favourite companions from his old convent. To them, under a solemn vow of secrecy he imparts his knowledge, their office being to commit it to writing, and form a magic tongue and vocabulary for the benefit of future students. But it seems that in addition to this task they had also undertaken to prescribe gratuitously for all the sick, who chose to claim their assistance, and the concourse of patients in a short time is so great as materially to interfere with their other labours. Christian's new building therefore of the Holy Spirit being by this time finished, he resolves to encrease the number of his brotherhood, and accordingly initiates four new members.
When all is completed, and the eight brothers are thoroughly instructed in the mysteries, they separate according to agreement, two only staying with Father Christian; but they are to return at the year's end that they may mutually communicate the fruits of their acquired experience. The two, who stayed at home, are then to be relieved by two others, so that the founder may never be quite alone, and they again divide for another twelvemonth. The laws to which they bind themselves are—
1st. That none should devote themselves to any occupation except physic, and should practice it gratuitously.
2nd. That none should be compelled on account of the brotherhood to wear a particular habit, but should conform in this respect to the custom of the land, in which they happen to be.
3rd. That each should present himself on a certain day in the year at the House of the Holy Spirit, or should send a reason for his absence.
4th. That each should look out for a brother to succeed him in the event of his death,
5th. The letters R.C. were to be their seal, watchword, and title.
6th. The brotherhood should be kept a secret for one hundred years
It should seem that though the brotherhood by their superior knowledge could guard against sickness, still they were not exempt from death. At the age of one hundred years Christian died, but the place of his burial remained a secret to all except the two brothers, who were with him, and they, according to their compact, carried the mystery with them to the grave. The society went on nevertheless, unknown to the world and always consisting of eight members, till another one hundred and twenty years had elapsed, when according to a tradition among them the grave of Father Rosenkreutz was to be discovered, and the brotherhood to be no longer a mystery to the world. It was about this time that the brothers began to make some alterations in their building, and thought of removing to another and more fitting situation the memorial-tablet, on which were inscribed the names of the associates. The plate, which was of brass, 'was fixed to the wall by means of a nail in its centre, and so firmly did it hold that in tearing it away a portion of plaister came off too and discovered to them a concealed door. Upon this door being yet farther cleansed from the incrustation, there appeared above in large letters, Post CXX ANNOS PATEBO.
Great was their delight at so unlooked-for a discovery; but still they so far restrained their curiosity as not to open the door till the next morning, when they found themselves in a seven-sided vault, each side five feet wide, and in height eight feet. It was lighted by an artificial sun in the centre of the arched roof, while in the middle of the floor, instead of a tomb, stood a round altar covered with a small brass plate, on which was this inscription :
A. C. R. C. Hoc, universi compendium, vivus mihi sepul chrum feci.
About the outer edge was,
Jesus mihi omnia.
In the centre were four figures; each enclosed in a circle, with these circumscriptions:
1. Nequaquam vacuus.
2. Legis Jugum.
3. Libertas Evangelii.
4. Dei gloria intacta.
Hereupon they all knelt down, and returned thanks to heaven for having made them so much wiser than the rest of the world, a naive trait that adds not a little to the verisimilitude of the story. Then they divided the vault into three parts-the roof, or heaven-the wall, or the sides—and the ground, or pavement. The first and last were according to the seven sides divided into triangles, while every side was divided into ten squares with figures and sentences, to be explained to the newly initiated. Each of these again had a door opening upon a closet, wherein were stored up sundry rare articles, such as the secret books of the order, the vocabulary of Paracelsus, and other things of the same nature, which it was allowable to impart even to the profane. In one they discovered the life and itinerary of their founder; in another they lighted upon mirrors possessed of different qualities, a little bell, burning lamps, and a variety of curious matters, intended to help in rebuilding the order, which after the lapse of many centuries was to fall into decay: Curiosity to see their founder induced them to push aside the altar, when they came upon a strong brass plate, and this too being removed,
"Before their eyes the wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day."
Moreover, like the celebrated character described in
these lines, he had a volume under his arm, which proved to be of vellum with letters of gold, and at the end of it, in two separate circles, were the names of eight brethren, who had assisted at their founder's interment. Next to the Bible, the Rosicrucians valued this book beyond any portion of their inheritance, yet it is not said whether they took away any of these rarities, or left the dead man in quiet possession of his treasures. Most probably they acted after the usual manner of heirs, and then paid the deceased all possible respect by replacing the metal plate and altar, and closing up the door, which they still farther secured by affixing their respective seals to it.
Such is the brief sketch of the Rosicrucians as given in the Fama, which then concludes with an invitation to the wise and good to join them, and a declaration of their opinions, moral, religious, and political. They respect all established governments, they are true Lutherans,* and, as to their philosophy, it is nothing new, but such as it was received by Adam after the Fall, and practised both. by Moses and Solomon." They deprecate the general passion for gold-making, yet allow that they are possessed of the art, though they look upon it as a parergy, and one of the least of their many valuable secrets. They then point out the manner in which the aspirants for
* Damit aber auch ein jeder Christ wisse was Confession und Glaubens wir seyen, so bekennen wir uns zur Erkanntniss Jesu Christi wie dieselbige zu dieser letzter zeit, besonders in Teutschland, hell und klar ausgangen, und noch heut zu Tag, ausgeschlossen aller Schwermer, Ketzern, und falschen Propheten, von gewissen und aufgezeigten Ländern erhalten, bestritten, und propagirt, wirt; geniessen auch der Sacramentum, wie die eingesetzt mit allen Phrasib. und Ceremoniis der ersten renovirten Kirchen. In der Policey erkennen wir das Römische Reich und die Quartam Monarchiam fur unser und die Christen Haupt.-Fama, p. 30.
+Auch ist unser Philosophia nichts neues, sondern wie sie Adam nach seinem Fall erhalten, und Moses und Salomon geubet.—Idem., p 30.